By Jacqui Mulholland
Headaches and Migraines are a common complex and varied condition that may affect most of us at some point in our lives. The frequency, duration and intensity can vary, as well as the types of symptoms that can indicate whether you are experiencing headaches, or migraines.
I used to be so confused about how to categorise my symptoms as a longtime headache/migraine sufferer. I would go to GP’s explain my symptoms, how they would affect me and the “cycle” with which they seemed to occur. They had a predictable pattern, and symptoms were usually quite similar each time, only varying in intensity and duration. My experience of these symptoms was often quite an unpleasant and fatiguing process. There was not much else offered as pain management at the time from my GP, the suggestions were pain meds, rest and reduce stress. This would leave me feeling a little bit deflated and helpless to do anything to change or at least manage my condition. My headaches were classified as “menstrual migraines” or “hormonal headaches”.
There is a lot of confusion and unknown factors about headaches and migraines, and you wouldn’t be alone in feeling at a loss as to where you can go and the type of treatments that may help you. You should always visit your GP in the event that you suddenly start getting headaches or your headaches are changing. There are many different treatment options now for headache/migraine sufferers that weren’t available 20 years ago so it’s always worth mentioning any new symptoms to your main healthcare provider.
So how do you know the difference between headaches and migraines? Well there are several different types of headaches and “Migraines” are just one of those types. The main difference between migraines and the other types of headaches is they may include some of the following symptoms (but not all)
As you can see these symptoms should not be ignored if you have never had migraines before or if your symptoms intensity or change as this could be an indication of something more serious. Always consult your healthcare provider as a first point of call.
There are other types of headaches that have similar symptoms but are not classified as migraines: some of these you may have heard of: cluster, tension, sinus. These may present a little differently in terms of the location of the pain symptoms, and intensity can vary but don't usually present with the visual disturbances, heightened sensitivity or with nausea & vomiting.
So whilst there is no cure for headaches or migraines, there are treatments and preventative techniques that may help. There can be certain triggers for you that you can help by avoiding. Certain foods, alcohol, getting enough sleep, regular moderate exercise, drinking water etc.
In terms of prevention and management of your symptoms, that’s where remedial massage & myotherapy can be really beneficial. When you're experiencing an episode, you might notice that you will feel like your body needs rest and quiet time to recover. Overstimulation can often exacerbate symptoms. Allowing your nervous system and inner balance a chance to restore and calm down the pain sensitivity can really assist in managing the pain. Regular massage may help reduce the intensity & frequency of your symptoms, address any muscular tightness that may be contributing to sensitivity in the head, jaw, neck, upper back and shoulder areas.
Remedial massage & myotherapy can provide an opportunity for your body to rest and receive nurturing touch, warmth, blood flow and may assist in improving sleep, reducing stress, regulating hormones & nervous system functioning. Your treatment may not get rid of your headache or migraine but it may help reduce the intensity and duration.
I love working to help assist headache & migraine sufferers, because of my personal experience with the condition and knowing that remedial massage and myotherapy has helped me tremendously with the management of my symptoms. I know how good it can feel to receive that attention and touch to calm my hypersensitivity and I often have a really good rest/sleep following the treatment which makes so much difference to my ability to function.
If you are a headache or migraine sufferer, come in for a massage and even consider regular treatments to manage recurring symptoms. This is a condition with complex clinical presentations but a very real pain experience for many people, and I’d love to help you feel and function better with less pain.
I am available to help you on Mondays and Wednesdays 9.45am-2pm, Thursdays 2.45pm-7pm, and every second Saturday 9.30am-2pm. Book in with me or one of our myotherapists via our website: www.simplewellness.com.au/treatments-bookings
I look forward to working with you!
By Duke Autret
Pain across the very base of your spine where your hips and lower back meet is very common. You can often pinpoint the pain as starting from "those two dimples at the lower back" and spreading out across the sides of the hips. Those two dimples, which aren't always visible on everyone, are where the back and hip join - specifically where the sacrum bone joins the iliac crest of the pelvis. This joint is called the Sacroiliac Joint.
Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) Dysfunction is an often used term to describe any issue that arises from some kind of problem at this joint, usually leading to the joint becoming inflamed, and which can commonly have subsequent implications such as sciatic pain (pain running down the leg) and/or pain from muscle spasms usually at the lower back and/or around the hip/s.
One reason for this is that the inflammation at the site of the Sacroiliac Joint may irritate the sciatic nerve much in the same way as a spinal disc problem can, although rather than perhaps a bulging intervertebral disc impinging on the sciatic nerve, instead it can be the chemical irritation and/or the pressure and compression caused by the swelling and inflammation of locals tissues and fluids.
Then due to pain and irritation from the inflammation, a pain cycle may set in, with muscles spasming and tightening up in response. Our bodies are pretty marvellous in the way they try to protect us from a perceived problem, and that protection usually comes in the way of tensing, tightening or spasming. Consider if you were going to be punched in the gut, the first thing your body will naturally do before you probably even think about it is to tense your abdominals, draw in the arms and shoulders, and crunch forward in a protected position to lessen the blow. The SIJ does a similar process to try to protect around the joint area, which can lead to that persisting pain.
Typically, an SIJ issue will present on just one side at a time, although it can be possible for the symptomatic side to swap from one side to the other, as when one SIJ is dysfunctional then the adjacent SIJ compensates and is therefore implicated.
The good news is that you can get treatment for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction! Treatments we can provide to help when someone comes to us in an acute phase will revolve around ways of decreasing the muscle spasm and pain to the hip, pelvis and spinal regions, and to also advise you on the best ways to manage the joint inflammation itself and ‘deload’ the structures involved. The initial stages of the treatment are likely to involve some soft tissue work like remedial massage, myofascial release, cupping or dry needling, and can also involve taping the SIJ to support that area and give those really hard working muscles a chance for a break without leaving that joint feeling vulnerable.
Then once these initial symptoms are under control we will guide you towards how to regain and develop the stability, mobility and control to the specific areas needed, which are likely to include the thigh muscles and the deep muscles of the trunk, abdominals, and back.
Outside of any hands on treatments the lasting success of reversing this type of condition will depend also on the empowerment of you. We will advise you on the best rehab routine and provide a layered program over time so that you can progress at the right pace and without worrying about being overloaded with homework. Or alternatively, we can refer you to connect with local practitioners or instructors in clinical exercise or other modalities like yoga for example if you prefer or if help with motivation and supervision is what you need.
Personally I enjoy working with SIJ pain since I used to suffer from a lot of it myself (and know how difficult it can be) and because I’ve learned how to best deal with it, to the point where I no longer suffer from this anymore. This has been a worthy investment for me and also a gift. I hope to share this with those who need it too.
If you’d like to start down the road of finding ways to improve your own challenges with an SIJ issue, I am here to help. Just call or leave a message with us at the Simple Wellness Myotherapy clinic here in Rowville, our number is 03 8204 0970, or alternatively you can visit our website to see our booking schedule and make an appointment for yourself at a time that best suits you.
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